Newcomb's Problem

Newcomb's Problem is a thought experiment in Decision Theorydecision theory exploring problems posed by having other agents in the environment who can predict your actions.

Sometimes people dismiss Newcomb's problem because of the physical impossibility of a being like Omega. However, Newcomb's problem does not actually depend on the possibility of Omega in order to be relevant. Similar issues arise if we imagine a skilled human psychologist who can predict other people's actions with 65% accuracy.

Sometimes people dismiss Newcomb's problem because of the physical impossibility of a being such as Omega is physically impossible. Actually,like Omega. However, Newcomb's problem does not actually depend on the possibility or impossibility of Omega is irrelevant. Considerin order to relevant. Similar issues arise if we imagine a skilled human psychologist thatwho can predict other humans'people's actions with, say,with 65% accuracy. Now imagine they start running Newcomb trials with themselves as Omega.

Newcomb'Newcomb's Problem is a thought experiment in Decision Theory exploring problems posed by having other agents in the environment who can predict your actions.

The Problem

From Newcomb'Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality:

One line of reasoning about the problem says that because Omega has already left, the boxes are set and you can'can't change them. And if you look at the payoff matrix, you'you'll see that whatever decision Omega has already made, you get $1000 more for taking both boxes. This makes taking two boxes a dominant strategy and therefore the correct choice. Agents who reason this way do not make very much money playing this game.

Irrelevance of Omega's Physical Impossibility

Sometimes people dismiss Newcomb's problem because a being such as Omega is physically impossible. Actually, the possibility or impossibility of Omega is irrelevant. Consider a skilled human psychologist that can predict other humans' actions with, say, 65% accuracy. Now imagine they start running Newcomb trials with themselves as Omega.

Notable Posts

See Also